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Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today Magazine

In the limelight—Tracey Spence




What’s the best thing about your job?

There are so many wonderful things about working for Oranga Tamariki. Firstly, everyone shares the same vision and is dedicated to our values. There is a genuine spirit of cooperation and shared goals ensuring tamariki and whanau are at the forefront of everything we do.

What’s the worst thing about your job?

There is nothing in my role that I don’t enjoy. The diversity of the work that I do ensures no day is like any other; I embrace the challenges and focus on positive change.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Ngāi Tahu leader and Māori language and tikanga expert Kukupa Tirikatene ONZM influenced my life with his kindness, guidance and wisdom. His whakatauaki, The Tapestry of Understanding, provides opportunity for reflection and learning as we navigate the ambiguity of our worlds.

The tapestry of understanding cannot be woven by one strand alone. Only by the working together of strands and the working together of weavers will such a tapestry be completed.

With its completion let us look at the good that comes from it and, in time we should also look at those stitches which have been dropped, because they also have a message.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

Not to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

Managing people: what approach works for you?

A strategist leadership style which focuses on helping develop the organisation as a whole, as well as the growth and individual achievements of direct reports. Strategists have a deep understanding of the structures and process that make their businesses tick, but they’re also able to consider these frameworks critically and evaluate what could be improved.

What brings a smile to your face at work?

Working with people and supporting them to succeed in their goals.

What about you would surprise your colleagues, if only they knew?

People are always surprised about my whānau background. I’m quiet, polite, tertiary educated. People don’t expect that I grew up in a state house next to the railway tracks and lived in a community where adversity was common and the struggle was real.

What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done?

A few years ago we needed to reset the culture of an organisation. Working alongside the CEO, we took our whole workforce off site to the Waikato where we did a reenactment of the Rangariri wars which was very confronting and awakening for all. We then continued down to Ngāruawāhia and boarded waiting wakā. Each team paddled up the river learning to coordinate and work with one another—as we spoke of the values of the organisation, and what this looked like in action.

How would you describe your career path?

I have had a winding career path spanning 25 years and many sectors. As a young practitioner I immersed myself in understanding the employment cycle and ensuring I equipped myself with the knowledge and experiences to enable organisations to stay compliant with key areas of employment law and make the right decisions when faced with challenging HR scenarios. I have a Bachelor in Applied Management—Business Transformation and Change, and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from Manukau Institute of Technology. I continued my educational pathway by graduating from the University of Waikato in 2017 with an MBA.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Being more strategic and innovation oriented, to remain relevant to the “constant changes”.

What’s your dream job?

Being in a role that exists to make a positive impact on people.

Who would you most like to have dinner with?

American poet Dr Maya Angelou—“Try to be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud”.

What’s your favourite:

Nina Simone—Feeling Good.
Item of clothing
I have a love affair with shoes.
Way of relaxing.
Walking with my family/dogs at the beach.

Thomson Reuters

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